Baby Milestones | Events

Okuizome – An Elaborate Feast for Baby

May 7, 2017

Okuizome – An Elaborate Feast for Baby

We recently celebrated o-kuizome (お食い初め), baby’s first meal. It is done in hopes that a baby will have no difficulty in procuring food in his/her lifetime.

Back in the day, extended relatives and family friendLibrarys were invited to attend a baby’s o-kuizome. In recent days, it’s done just with parents and grandparents. Some modern families now even conduct o-kuizome as an event just for parents and baby.

As with o-miya mairi, the date when the ceremony is performed may vary by region. It can be celebrated when baby is 100 days old or even as late as 110 or 120 days after birth.

In our case, we planned to visit the in-laws during Golden Week, and they wanted to have baby’s o-kuizome at that time. When Golden Week approached, baby was around 90 days old, so we weren’t too far off the mark.

Our arrival was delayed by Golden Week traffic. As baby had slept in the car, she was well rested by the time we arrived, giving us the perfect opportunity to start the celebration.

My in-laws prepared a very elaborate feast for such a tiny baby. There were several types of foods presented in front of baby, to be eaten with special celebratory chopsticks, (祝箸iwaibashi).

The foods prepared follow the washoku formula of “one soup, three dishes” (一汁三菜 ichijuu sansai). Soup (吸い物 suimono), fish (魚 sakana) stewed dish (煮物 niimono), pickled vegetables (香の物 kounomo) and rice (赤飯 sekihan).

The fish is served intact because the name of the fish, tai, or sea bream, is a play on o-medetai, a word used for congratulatory purposes. 

Where do I start…? Everything looks delicious!

Of course, a baby can’t eat any of those foods, so o-kuizome is in fact a wonderful photo op for family members as they try to “feed” baby.

I’ve seen that after the “feeding,” a baby is given a smooth rock to nibble on for the purpose of promoting strong and health teeth; in our case, no such rock was provided for baby.

One of the things I love about going to Ibaraki is the abundance of fish. There’s even a guy who goes around door to door in my in-laws’ neighborhood selling recently caught fish. He doesn’t even ring the doorbell. He just opens the door and yells, “I got fresh xxx today!”

Baby couldn’t eat the sea bream, but we definitely did! For lunch, the adults had and for  sashimi, including my favorite, katsuo (bonito) Plus, for dinner we had saba (mackerel) too!

Okuizome – An Elaborate Feast for Baby

Check out other Japanese Celebrations for Baby:

O-Miya Mairi – Taking Baby to a Shrine

O-Shichiya & Meimei-shiki – Japanese Baby Naming Tradition

Inu no Hi – A Shrine Visit for Pregnant Women

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